How to Troubleshoot a Leaky Air Conditioner

Even with new HVAC technology trends, air conditioners still produce moisture that requires proper drainage. There are certain conditions that result in too much condensate, in which case it may require professional repairs. HVAC contractor McLay Services, Inc. shares a quick look at how to troubleshoot a leaky air conditioner.

Where is That Moisture Coming From?

First, let’s take a look at how a typical air conditioning system works. Air conditioners have three key components: the compressor, the condenser and the evaporator. A substance called a refrigerant is cycled through these parts under different levels of pressure, generating hot air as it’s decompressed in the condenser, then becomes cold as it makes its way to the evaporator. The refrigerant is compressed in the compressor as the cycle begins anew.

Contrary to what many people think, a “leak” from the air conditioning system, specifically from the condenser unit, isn’t the refrigerant; it’s actually water released during the condensation stage and is called condensate. Despite HVAC technology trends, this remains a normal part of the refrigeration process. A well-designed HVAC system should include proper drainage for the condensate.

Troubleshooting a Leaky Air Conditioner

When you notice leaks every time your air conditioner is running, check the condensate drain line and make sure it’s not clogged or damaged. It’s not uncommon to find condensate drain lines chewed by household pets. Clean clogged drain lines as prescribed in the HVAC care and maintenance guide. Depending on the air conditioner make and model, damaged drain lines can be user-replaceable, or you may need to call an HVAC professional to replace them.

For air conditioners that use a condensate pump, check if the pump is still working. Water may back up into the condensate pan or into the condenser. Also, check the condensate pan for signs of leaks under it. If this is the case, call your HVAC contractor for a replacement. In most HVAC designs, condensate pans are not user-replaceable.

Call McLay for Your HVAC Repair Needs

McLay Services Inc. is up-to-date with the latest HVAC technology trends and can help you with your leaky air conditioner. Give us a call at (909) 392-2202 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.